An accreditation agency has placed the DeKalb County School District on probation, citing long-term leadership issues after a six month investigation.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools found evidence of nepotism, fiscal mismanagement and school board members influencing which schools athletes chose to attend.
In a scathing 20 page report, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accuses DeKalb officials of engaging in bickering while letting district finances wither. Mark Elgart, president and chief executive officer of SACS parent company AdvancED, also said the district had allowed academic achievement to slip. The district will lose accreditation if it fails to address the concerns in the report by December 31, 2013, Elgart said.
DeKalb school board Chairman Eugene Walker said at news conference this week that he hadn’t had time to “digest” the SACS report, but he promised school officials would work together to regain full accreditation. “We’ve not lost our accreditation, and we’re not planning on losing our accreditation,” Walker said.
DeKalb was already accredited “on advisement,” having been dropped a notch from full accreditation by a prior SACS visit.
Although being reprimanded by SACS means the district will keep its accreditation, a new state law gives Gov. Nathan Deal the authority to replace the school board of districts that are placed on probation.
The Georgia Board of Education will also discuss the findings within 30 days, and will meet with DeKalb district officials before forwarding a recommendation to Gov. Deal for a final decision.
With over 98,000 students enrolled, the DeKalb County School District is the third largest in Georgia.